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London, United Kingdom . July 1-14, 2024

How to effectively and politely survive the Wimbledon queue

If the thought of thousands of sporting fans camping out overnight with the goal of gaining last-minute tickets to an event sounds like utter chaos and disorder to you – then you probably use the word “line” over “queue.”

Tennis is a sport that is steeped in manners and tradition, so it is only natural that Wimbledon, the oldest and most prestigious international tennis championship in the world, operates with a similar penchant for politeness. From the dress code to the lawn maintenance to infamous queue itself, there is sense of orderliness and etiquette to every aspect of Wimbledon that makes the tournament a distinctly British affair.

wimbledon queue

Don’t know how to queue or why one would? Here is a beginner’s guide to nabbing cheap Wimbledon tickets all the while acquiring a thoroughly British cultural experience for your Bucket List.


 What is the Wimbledon queue?

The Wimbledon queue is the waiting line that forms for same-day tickets to the matches. Wimbledon is one of the last remaining international sporting events where spectators can obtain cheaply priced tickets the day-of, a privilege that many are eager to take advantage of. During the two weeks of Wimbledon each year, an otherwise unremarkable field of grass near the stadium grounds fills up with a couple thousand folks patiently waiting to purchase tickets to the matches.


 Which tickets can you get through the queue?

Wimbledon allocates a set amount of tickets for each court and each day just for the queue. At 9:30am each morning of the tournament, queuing tickets for that day become available on a first-come-first-served basis. Queuers cannot purchase tickets for any of the coming days, rather only for the day they waited in the queue.

The complete list of queue ticket prices is posted on the official Wimbledon website annually at the tournament’s beginning.

Wimbledon Centre Court Tickets


 How long will I have to wait in the Wimbledon queue?

Because the tickets are limited, available only that day, and sold on a first-come-first served basis, the most hardcore queuers come very early to ensure they get the tickets they want.

In previous years, hardcore queuers would generally come the evening before with camping gear so as to be first in line in the morning. In 2017, with a particularly strong British showing in the tournament, locals are showing far more enthusiasm and coming as early as 40 hours ahead of time to ensure they can get Centre Court tickets. The more popular the match, the earlier you should be prepared to queue.

Those who don’t have their hearts set on a particular match and would be happy with any tickets can show up to queue in the morning and have their tickets by the mid-to late afternoon, provided there are still tickets left.


 How is the queue organized?

Upon arrival, hopeful spectators head to the back of the queue where they are issued a queue wristband. This time-stamped and numbered wristband holds your place in line – it makes it impossible for people to cut the queue. The wristbands and tickets are non-transferable – so you can’t hire someone to queue for you.

If you were a hardcore fan who camped out the night before, event organizers will begin to wake people up around 6am the morning of to distribute the queue wristbands.

wimbledon queue

Some would say you haven’t really experienced Wimbledon unless you’ve queued.

When all the wristbands have been distributed for the day, that means that there are no more tickets left to be purchased. Anyone who showed up too late won’t be able to enter the grounds that day; but they can always stay so as to get a good spot in the next day’s queue.

Once the ticket turnstile opens, queuers purchase their tickets one by one, proceeding exactly in order according to their wristbands.


 What should I bring to the queue?

If you are spending the night in the queue, a tent and other necessary sleeping gear are, of course, recommended. There will still be waiting to be done come morning, so queuers should be prepared to feed and entertain themselves. Lawn chairs, board games, coolers filled with snacks and drinks, umbrellas, stereos, and lawn games are all common features of the queue.

wimbledon queue

Remember, this is outdoors in July with limited shade. Anyone wanting to queue should bring adequate sun protection and a whole lot of water. Medical and security staff are on premise 24/7 in the event of an emergency.

You should also bring cash. Tickets cannot be purchased with credit or debit cards.


 What are the rules of queuing for Wimbledon?

In order to make the queue as safe and pleasant as possible for everyone involved, there is a lengthy list of rules involved. 17 pages of rules, to be exact, which are distributed to each queuer upon arrival.

Important takeaways include:

  • No music or loud noise from 10pm-7am
  • No leaving the queue for more than 30 minutes at a time, lest your spot be forfeit
  • Restraint in alcohol consumption
  • No selfie-sticks
  • Maximum tent occupancy is 2 people; larger tents are prohibited
  • Pizza deliveries should be ordered to and picked up at the Wimbledon Park Road gate only


 What are some tips for surviving the Wimbledon queue?

  • How long you’ll wait depends on the day and who is playing. Lots of British stars playing important matches that day? Expect locals to show up in droves. Mostly international up-and-comers? You can pretty safely bet the queue won’t be too long.
  • Plan for all weather. Make sure your tent has a rain fly and that you’ve got gear to keep you dry. Centre Court has a retractable roof but the queuing grounds do not.
  • Keep an eye on the official Wimbledon Twitter. They will announce once there are no longer wristbands available for the day, possibly saving you a futile trip.
  • Think of how much money you’re saving on a hotel. Camping out in the Wimbledon queue for the night is the cheapest accommodation available in all of London!
  • Embrace the experience. Queuing can be an incredibly fun and memorable time. Between the excitement of the tournament and the camaraderie of the whole queuing ordeal, the mood of the queue tends to be rather jovial. Seize this opportunity to make friends with your neighbors, kick a football, enjoy a few beers, read a book, work on your tan, and fall asleep beneath the stars.